Players need focus and drive to win homecoming matchup

Alex Entz/Senior Writer

With a critical homecoming game against the Dubuque Wahlert Golden Eagles looming, the Cedar Falls Tiger football team has a lot on its shoulders. The team finds itself at the record of 2-2, following a surprising loss at home to Dubuque Hempstead. In the past two years combined, the Tigers have lost a combined three games.

Nonetheless, the Tigers remain undeterred and confident that they will take the homecoming game against Wahlert this coming Friday. Early prep predictions show the Tigers as the favorites by over two touchdowns.

“One of the major keys to winning the homecoming game is for the players to stay focused. That can be difficult with so many outstanding activities going on during the week,” head coach Brad Remmert said.

Starting fullback and senior John Gogola noted the importance of starting and setting the tempo quickly.

“We need to get up early and play with some fire,” Gogola noted. “If we come out and play to our abilities, we can’t lose,” he said.
Senior wide receiver Austin Long added, “Our offense has to be able to score more often in the redzone.”

Both believe the team has what it takes to beat Dubuque Wahlert in front of what is sure to be a rabid and large home crowd.

“We have a talented group of players … that have the ability to win a lot of games this year,” Remmert said.

The excitement surrounding the homecoming game has intensified this year as the team’s fortunes have waned.

“Our next game is pressure without homecoming around it,” Long said. “We cannot lose any more games.”

After last year’s postseason run, the face of the Tigers team has changed dramatically, but the general consensus surrounding the team is that this year’s team can get it done, just in a different way.

“Last year we had a big, smashmouth team, and we just ran it down their throat,” Gogola said. “This year we have a smaller but faster team …and we’re letting those speed guys make plays.”

Though the team’s record indicates a sub-par year thus far, both Gogola and Remmert wrote those losses off as consequences of a younger team.
“A lot of guys took the losses hard,” Gogola said, and he added they “have worked hard to improve. Everyone knows that we can’t let up now, that we have to keep pressing to show people that we’re a contender.”

Gogola noted that last year’s team also lost its first game before advancing to the state tournament. He expounded on the team’s problems. “(The team isn’t) playing with much desire, and we make too many mental mistakes.”

Remmert cited the first week’s loss at Cedar Rapids Washington as evidence of that.

“We made a few mistakes in the second half that makes it difficult to win the ballgame when you are playing a quality opponent,” Remmert said.

The Tigers will look to correct those mistakes at the homecoming game at the UNI-Dome at 7:45 on Friday, Sept. 28.

Class of 2014

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